Christian Parenting and Family Resources with Biblical Principles

Please Help Provide Clean Water to Persecuted Christians

Simple Ways to Teach Kids about Gratitude

  • Sandy Coughlin Contributing Writer
  • Published Nov 20, 2009
Simple Ways to Teach Kids about Gratitude


God's goodness may not look like our goodness, I told my Balcony Girls this week as we met for a couple of hours after school.

And I was able to share with them the blessing that I had in my early 20s, to go on a Mexico mission trip, where my eyes were opened to poverty in a way I had never seen. It not only made me more thankful for what I had, it made me more aware. I was able to see the joy and the hope that these people had, even with little.

Cultivating the habit of thanks

At Michael's Arts & Craft store, I bought the girls their own journals from the $1 bin. I shared with the girls that no matter the circumstances, we should try to give thanks, and at night before going to bed is a good time to start.

Keep the journal by your bed.
Every night write one note of thanksgiving.
It will turn your frustrations into thanksgiving.
You'll go to bed with peace.
You'll wake up to a fresh new day.

Making butter

Sometimes, it's the simplest activities that impress important truths into our memories. So, for a fun activity, we measured out baby food jars of heavy whipping cream.

The girls shook their jars for about 10 minutes as we talked about gratitude. As we talked, the cream thickened into soft butter! We added salt, and I sent the girls home with their own jars of butter.

Banana bread and applesauce

Warm banana bread had come out of the oven earlier, so we sliced it and ate it along with fresh applesauce that the girls pressed through the Kitchen Aid attachment. (What the girls didn't know was that I forgot to add the butter to the bread - a minor imperfection that didn't seem to really matter. The bread got devoured anyway!)

We added a hint of cinnamon to the applesauce and a fresh dab of whipped cream on top. Yum.

I am thankful for …

As we enjoyed the afternoon of simple food, we played a fun game - a memory game! The objective was not only to have fun, but to remember a long list of things to be thankful for! Each girl, in sequence, had to repeat the previous responses.

Over and over.

We decided not to eliminate, but to extend grace when we messed up. So around the circle we went for about 3 rounds. 6×3=18 answers we repeated. We laughed a lot.

I started the game off by saying what I was grateful for. Sunshine, as the sun was incredibly bright outside. Beautiful! I encouraged the girls to not just be thankful for material things, but also for blessings like family, health, friendships and God's love - His faithfulness and goodness.

I challenged the girls by saying that being grateful helps us to treat others better.

If you're going to be having a house full of kids on Thanksgiving Day, maybe some of these Balcony Girl's ideas will resonate and help you to incorporate a state of thanksgiving and togetherness!

What activities do you have planned for kids on Thanksgiving Day?  

November 23, 2009

Sandy Coughlin is a mom to 3 teens, wife to one awesome man, and author of the popular Reluctant Entertainer blog. She loves to cook and entertain in her home, and look for creative ways to give to those around her. Her book, The Reluctant Entertainer, will be released summer 2010.